1. African Black Rhino Now Extinct



    This is shameful, Humans.

     



  2. There is a Zen saying that goes something like, “I thought it was a snake, but it was just a rope.” Which referes to our incorrect application of past fears to new experiences, which creates limitation and unnecessary suffering.

    Well, yesterday… this discovery was both.

    A cute little black snake coiled up by our garden hose, enjoyed the last bit of sun before this cold spell.

     



  3. 22,000 entries (from 150 countries) were submitted for National Geographic’s 2012 photography contest. Above is the winner… but here are some stunning runners-up.

     

  4. Today Arlo had a gun pulled on him. I wish I were kidding. The punks who were playing with a very real-looking bb gun in Cambier Park this morning, thought it would be funny to point their toy at my dog — probably didn’t anticipate that I would later have them arrested. Losers. Never mess with a girl and her schnauzer.

    Arlo and I escaped the dangers of Old Naples for a hike in the swamp that would clear our minds. We drove east to Fakahatchee Strand to celebrate a beautiful fall-like day in Florida on the award-winning boardwalk nature trail.



    I assume Arlo realized he had a close call with death and decided to make the most of his second chance. Today was the best day of his life.

    The strand probably doesn’t allow dogs, but there was no sign, so we didn’t care. Arlo, who was off leash, charmed everyone we met with his good manners and obedience.



    I love this original Florida Royal Palm—there aren’t many left. Most of the ones in Naples are the ornamental, non-native Cuban Royal Palms. Hold up. I just fact-check this… turns out they are now considered the same tree!

    I stopped to chat and to teach the other visitors about the wildlife I spotted and shared with them… and I offered to take their pictures, which everyone appreciates. Norma, who was celebrating her seventieth birthday with her daughter was thrilled to have the memories of the special day captured digitally.



    The swamp was rather quiet at first glance. However, I spotted a beautiful red-shouldered hawk, a few heron, kingfisher, wood stork, alligator, downy woodpeckers, and too-fast-to-identify warblers. I also had the pleasure of listening to a couple barred owls call to each other, their hoots and responses getting closer and closer and they found each other.



    Looking for gators.



    I met Ron, a volunteer ranger, who rather than reprimanding me for my schnauzer, was delighted by the enormous bees’ nest, high up in an old cypress tree, I pointed out to him. (You’ve never seen someone so happy by a secret bee discovery.)



    Back at the car, we rehydrated and snacked. On the drive out, while smelling the late-afternoon air, my co-pilot got his head stuck in the automatic window. The scaredy-cat rode on my lap the rest of the way to town.
     

  5. Best Wildlife Photography of 2012



    A fish-eye lens was used by photographer Anna Henly to capture a polar bear on its quest for sure-footing in the North Pole. The winning image is featured in this month’s Atlantic, along with some other incredible snaps now considered the best wildlife photography of 2012. My favorite is the hare.

     



  6. The dizziness of freedom.

     

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  8. This is such a heart-warming video. I’m such a sucker for it.
     

  9. That’s me off to the right.

    Last Sunday I went on a 7.2-mile paddle board trip.

    If it sounds intense that’s because it sounds intense. In reality, it was challenging, but not grueling as I feared it might be. (The night before I had called MR in a panic, unsure I could do the trip — he gently talked me into it.)

    BH picked me up at 6:30am in her sparkling blue bikini and off we went to try out our balance and stamina on an oversized surfboard. We started out at the Naples Pier and paddled about three miles on the Gulf, along the shore and front yards of the sprawling houses of Port Royal, and then made the turn into Gordon Pass, where the Naples coast seemingly terminates forever.



    The vantage point from the board allows for more wildlife veiwig than on a boat, swimming or sitting on the couch. A manatee swam right under my board. Sea turtles, dolphins and sharks were close, too.

    We paddled along the channel for another four miles and somewhere during that stretch I was pulled over by Marine Patrol. It was like being pulled over while walking. When this giant boat slowed down beside me, I was dwarfed by its size… like a tug boat alongside a jumbo cargo ship. When he put his lights on, I nearly laughed out loud. Apparently we all needed life vests and whistles, or $90 ticket, which we thankfully managed to avoid, would be issued.



    Three and a half hours of straight paddling later, we arrived, strong and accomplished, at our destination: a dock-side restaurant with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

    By noon I was warmly drunk and looking forward to the next paddle, this Friday at midnight.